AN historic house by Bournemouth's Central Gardens is set to be demolished.

Late last year council planning officers rejected a bid to knock down the unlisted 1930s Art Moderne property at 2b Bradburne Road and neighbouring 2a and build a six-storey block of 16 flats.

A report justified this decision on the grounds that the loss of a "heritage asset", impact on the Gardens and "excessive scale and plot coverage" of the proposed building were unacceptable.

However, applicant Woldingham Developments Limited has now won approval to demolish the homes under permitted development rights, since demolitions alone do not require formal planning permission.

This issue has been criticised recently by planning board chairman Councillor David Kelsey, as well as by Bournemouth Civic Society and the team behind Boscombe and Pokesdown Neighbourhood Plan as a way for developers to circumvent informal protections for buildings or historic or architectural interest.

A letter of objection to the demolition apparently submitted "on behalf of the residents of Bradburne Road and Crescent Road" states: "The sylvan atmosphere of the Central Gardens, the Jurassic play area, the public tennis court enjoyed by nearby residents, the protected tree orders, and the nearby properties' walls and fences and foundations would all be vulnerable to the demolition of the two buildings, together with additional noise disturbance to the residents of the area.

"Also one of properties being demolished is a rare example of a Moderne 1920s house, one of only three in the borough and the one in its most authentic condition, the other an Arts and Crafts home.

"English Heritage queried why the building was not listed in its original opposition to the development plans due to this, or why the Central Gardens was not in a Conservation area. The local residents wonder why the latter is not too."

However, a report by planning officer Charles Raven states the letter "unfortunately cannot be taken into consideration under this application for prior approval".

The report states that: "Historic England assessed the quality of 2b Bradburne Road and determined not to list the building, commenting that it is interesting but not distinguished enough to be of national importance."

The developer's director, former LV= financial director Steve Castle, complained to the Echo a year ago that 2b – where his parents had lived for 30 years – had been occupied by squatters and drug users, preventing him from renting out the property.